Budgeting

Bank Fees

I’ve talked about the importance of opening a bank account already. But, now, you should consider the right account for you at the right bank for you. You need to understand the bank fees, interest and how to access your money.

  1. Monthly Fees. Some banks charge you monthly to have an account with them. Don’t pay this fee. If they have a minimum required in the account to avoid this fee, keep the minimum in your account. If they just charge the fee to everybody, keep shopping. You can shop for a bank just like anything else. If your credit is really poor or you have had bank issues in the past, you might only qualify for a savings account. But, a savings account will still boost your credit and help you earn interest.
  2. Overdraft Fees. Know what your bank will charge you if you go negative in your account. This is only possible on a checking account. These overdraft fees then put your account more in the negative so even when you put money in, you need to replenish the fee plus the negative. These fees often add up to much more then a credit card interest payment would be. Be aware of your balance and don’t overspend.
  3. ATM Fees. These are the most common fees you will pay when you have an account. Avoid these fees by only using your bank to make withdrawals. If you have a checking account, you can also make a small purchase at the grocery store and they will give you cash back for free. When you make the withdrawal the ATM shows the fee. But, your bank will also charge you a fee. If you really are in a situation where you need to pay the fee to get your money, take out more than you need so you only get charged the fee once.
  4. Avoidable Fees. These include foreign transaction fees, paper statement fees and inactivity fees. Read all the fine print and know what your bank will charge you for all of these things. Then, try to avoid them.

Try to avoid banks that charge high fees or excessive fees. But, you still could find one of these fees on your account. Sometimes, you can have the fee waived if you just call and ask nicely.

Make this your year that you understand your finances and pay less fees.

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